It feels like a win…

You just had an argument online. You came to the table with a solid argument supported with tangible facts. You take the hits of stupidity and rebound with truth. Round after round, and you don’t miss a beat. Your timing is impeccable, and you do your utter best to refrain from “stooping to their level”.

Then it’s over. In the blink of an eye, your foe decides they don’t want to play anymore, grab their toys and leave. The debate is over, and you feel triumphant. It feels like a win…

… doesn’t it?

For me, that feeling is often short lived. The realization that the other party was doing little more than trying to hurt your feelings, and had no intention of actually listening and potentially learning something. It’s at that moment that I find myself brought down a little.

You see, my goal isn’t to simply argue and win. My reason for debating is truly altruistic in that I want to help educate and be educated. I could lose a debate wholeheartedly, and still consider it a win. As Francis Bacon said, “knowledge is power”. It’s the sharing of the truthful and factual knowledge that fuels my desire to debate.

So, my win isn’t exactly a win, is it? Unfortunately I think that’s the case. Such is life I guess.

I love to win; but I love to lose almost as much. I love the thrill of victory, and I also love the challenge of defeat. – Lou Gehrig

Back to your roots…

Somehow, some way, I received an email from the GOP asking my opinion about what they can do to win the elections in November. My immediate thoughts were so simple it is almost ridiculous. They need to return to their roots, bring in some of the old guard philosophies, and stop trying to “toe the party line”.

I’m sure I’ve posted about this before, I believe that the GOP / Republican party has been perverted so far beyond what they once were, that for them to retain the name is pretty much disingenuous. They are no longer the “conservatives” that represent the masses who align with conservative values regarding to application of law. Those of us who are fiscally conservative, and socially liberal (I might even go so far as socially ambiguous), don’t necessarily agree with the NeoCON’s in office today.

You see, historically, being a conservative politician meant that you were conservative in your creation and application of laws. I know, I’ve harped on this before, but it seems as though I need to say it again. Our country was founded on the principals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The second word there, liberty, was a guiding light of the old guard, but has seemingly been forgotten but the modern republican.

The modern republican seems to believe that being conservative has more to do with your social and moral values, which really have very little business being in government. Social and moral values may guide your decisions when creating and voting on laws, but creating and voting on laws that impede liberty for the sake of sanctimony is what continues to drive the divide in this country.

The more I open my eyes to the majority, the more I see most people are moderates, whether they be “liberal” or “conservative”. I have come to find that most of what I hear or see in the main stream media is from the vocal minority and is not representative of the masses (I know my animosity shows here). This is not something I’ve come by by sitting in an echo chamber, but instead by opening my eyes, ears, and mind to those with seemingly differing opinions. We’re not all that different after all. We just want to be treated fairly even if we don’t share the same values.

So, to any politician who may come across this, if you want my opinion on how to come out ahead and possibly convert voters of the other party to come to your side, err on the side of liberty. This was the stance of the republicans years ago, but there is nothing to say that the democrats can’t borrow a page from this playbook.

All mankind… being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.  – John Locke

A year in…

Good morning and Happy Saturday my friends!
A year ago, I was cautiously optimistic, and I’m thankful that my optimism did not bite me in the butt. In that years time I have indeed seen things get better for myself, and for the country as a whole. Things that are a direct result of our president, even though many would have you believe otherwise. You simply can’t discount companies saying their actions are due to the tax plan that was passed, and attribute it to a previous administration. I guess you can, but that’d be disingenuous.
I am also quite dismayed by many of the events of the past year by our fellow Americans, our government, and our media organizations.
Let’s take that in reverse. The mainstream media has never before been so negative toward a sitting president. Never. The amount of time the big 4 (ABC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN) have negative spin added to their stories is upwards of 95% of the time. Up from between 40% and 60% previously. It’s no longer about reporting the facts and letting the people make up their own minds, it’s about driving narrative by any means possible.
Next up is our government. They continue to ignore their duties as representatives of the people. They display blind allegiance to their parties, their pet projects, and those who can help further increase their power. You have representatives who outright say that they are working for non-citizens “full time” while their constituents ask why? Yet they still get voted back into office. How on earth does that happen?
That leads me into the actions of my fellow Americans. This is on both sides of the isle. First you have people screaming about things that have not manifested in any way at all. Mass deportations? Didn’t happen. Mass sexual discrimination? How about the opposite happened. Just look at Hollywood. This is the first time they’ve been empowered enough to speak out against the injustices they are seeing. The anti-LGBT movement would see a resurgence? I don’t believe I’ve seen anything there. Racism? Well, I’m seeing it, but not anti-black or anti-immigrant.
Then on the other side of the isle, I have seen a disgusting amount of gloating. I’ve seen people encouraging divide and sharing their hatred for their fellow man. Why? I don’t understand it. We’re all in this together.
This throws a confusing spin on my outlook over the past year. How can I say things are better when I see so many people trying to divide us from the inside? I think things will balance out over time if people begin to look beyond their echo chamber, but I don’t know that people are willing to do that.
In the mean time, I will personally continue to look at the bigger picture where I can, I will support my country and fellow man in any way that I can, and I will continue to be happy about the benefits I’ve seen by having the president we do.
Here’s to another prosperous and happy year, and to us all coming together to make this country even that much better!

I’m the RINO…

There are a lot of names that have been used to define the “establishment” politicians of the Republican party. Neocon, and RINO, seem to be the most used. The latter being an abbreviation for “Republican In Name Only”. Of course, these go under the assumption that “republican” and “conservative” are synonymous. To me, that’s simply not the case.

Let me go ahead and define my definition of “Conservative” and “Liberal” before I move on…

As I see it, the terms liberal and conservative refer to the creation and application of laws. Meaning, do you create and apply laws in generous amounts, or are you more discerning in the laws you create, keeping them to the bare minimum? Of course, this is based off my study of history and the early stages of our government.

It would seem as though this has been perverted and construed to mean personal values. In that, you have to believe a certain way to be associated with said party. Some more benign examples could be a “liberal” who likes guns or a “conservative” who is pro gay marriage. More caustic examples would be “blacks and women should only be liberals” and “the conservative party is for old white men”.

Of course, none of that is truly the case. I have many friends that go against those “traditional” roles. Again, I don’t believe they are traditional definitions, but more so modern perversions to fit a narrative.

This leads me to my point about being a “RINO”. I’m conservative, sure, but only within the confines of the definition mentioned previously. The problem is that the republican party continues to get further and further from those values, and while they suggest they have the more modern values of conservatism, they really do little to support those claims.

So, I am a “Republican in name only”. I hope that my vote can help bring the party back into line with my beliefs. I’d like them to represent me, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. It may be that I have to switch parties to one more in line with my beliefs, which I’d prefer to not have to do.

This is the problem with partisan politics and the 2 party system. There is nothing good that comes from it.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. -George Washington

Boy were our founding fathers ahead of their time…

Just keep beating that dead horse…

Here we are, 68 days into Donald Trump’s presidency, and it seems as though the pace is moving very well. So, why then, do people try to live in the past?

I’m not talking about any specific party. I’m talking about people who continue to complain about Obama, those who post about Trump’s missteps during the campaign, the messages about the random celebrity who said this or that. All things that were reported on ad nauseam, either positively or negatively.

You still see birthers blathering on about Obama’s birth certificate. You still see meme’s about Will Smith saying that Trump supporters should leave the country. The list goes on and on. And why?

Well, since you’re still here reading this then you care what I think, so I’ll tell you what I believe. I believe that there are people who can’t handle being happy or content. There are people who love the misery of hatred. It’s these people who have no real argument or debate, so they just push their vitriol on others any chance they get.

These are the same people who tend to be uneducated, and speak in very small words while name calling in an effort to make themselves feel superior. They’re buzz words when trying to debate are “moron” and “stupid” and “idiot” and … The list goes on.

I used to waste my time trying to talk sensibly with them, only to find that it was a lesson in futility. I don’t do this any longer, which probably gives those individuals a sense of victory. A sense that they have stuck it to their enemy. It probably also reinforces their belief in whatever tired diatribe their spewing. Unfortunately, the negative effects of this aren’t enough for me to continue to put myself through the headache of trying to convey my position in an intuitive manner to someone who is incapable of logical or rational thought.

I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Dying Detective

I believe you’re wrong, Mr. President…

As a quick follow-up to my previous post, I just watched the president’s statements surrounding the failure. I find it ridiculous to blame the democrats for the failure of the healthcare debacle. This is a failure of the GOP, entirely. There was more than one plan put forward that would have helped greatly, but instead the establishment representatives in the GOP backed the Ryan bill.

That bill, as stated previously, was a travesty. It was known for some time it wouldn’t pass. It’s worth saying again that congress is defunct, on both sides, and has been that way for some time. If nothing changes in short order, the GOP will see the same losses in 2018 that the democrats saw after passing the ACA.

I’m also hugely disappointed in Trump. I feel that he’s rolling over. I don’t care what he says about “letting it blow up”, it’s his job to work for the people and simply placing blame and moving on is the easy way out. That is not how a leader gets things done. It’s also not a “win” for the American people. Very disappointed indeed.

This is going to be a big mistake…

So, today the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) replacement bill died.

I’m still digesting it. It wasn’t unexpected, there were a lot of clues leading up to this with all of the in-fighting, all of the disagreement of keep and amend vs repeal and replace, but I’m surprised none the less. I’m surprised that after  7 years the establishment candidates within congress were incapable of presenting intelligent legislation that not only stops the massive negative impact of the current bill, but also improves upon the positive aspects. At the very least they could have repealed it entirely to stop the bleeding. That is what the people wanted. The people spoke numerous times, through no less than 3 elections.

Instead, our government, and more pointedly the GOP, has proven that they are defunct. This has been relatively apparent for the past few years, but seems to be getting exponentially worse. They are the reason that our previous president spoke about having a phone and a pen, and they are the reason why there is quite a bit of unrest throughout the country today.

Maybe it’s by design. Maybe it’s because they want the country at odds with each other to keep from having any real focus places on their inefficacy. Distraction can be a powerful tool.

I think that they’re probably underestimating what happened during the last election, and are in for a rude awakening in 2018. As I see it, the people spoke loudly with the “tea party” movement, and started by giving the house to the GOP. The subsequent election yielded the senate. All the while, the GOP said that it was the presidents fault. What they neglected to see, or maybe they don’t care, is that the entire time more and more people started paying attention. Now they have the house, the senate, and the presidency, and the expectation is that they will “get things done”.

Healthcare was a major factor in how people voted. This isn’t a secret, the people have spoken out many times. Think about it, the first loss that came about was after the ACA was signed into law against the will of the majority of the country. It’s with this in mind that I believe their decision to not take this seriously was a big mistake. I believe they will reap what they’ve sown and will be losing seats in the upcoming election.

That is, of course, if they don’t get themselves together and start performing. There is still time. Yes, I’ve talked about the 2018 elections, but we’re only 3 months into 2017 so there’s still time. I’m not optimistic, and don’t hold out much hope. I’ve simply been burnt too many times. Nonetheless there is still time.

Inside of every problem lies an opportunity. – Robert Kiyosaki

Unintended consequences…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, castaway on some remote island with no access to media, or have some other reason for not interacting with society, you’ve seen the bathroom gender issue rear its ugly head. You know the one I’m talking about, where it has been ordered that a person can use the bathroom of the gender that they identify with.

To be clear, I believe that this was nothing more than an desire to receive special recognition. Prior to all the hubbub, I’m certain that I’ve used the bathroom with gay people. There’s even the likelihood that I’ve shared the bathroom with a transgendered person. I know that my wife and daughter have experienced the same. All without any unwanted advances or altercations, and all without the need of a new law or special recognition.

You see, prior to the latest manufactured outrage, the bathroom was simply a place to do your business, and any outwardly creepy person (of either gender) would be reported. People who identified as a man and even remotely looked like a man used the men’s room. People who identified as a woman and even remotely looked like a woman (and sometimes not really) used the ladies room. No muss, no fuss, no harm, no foul.

Fast forward to today. The Indiana legislature is now putting forth legislation requiring people to utilize the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate. Prior to this there was, as far as I know, no law that said you had to utilize any specific bathroom. Now I will say that this does not account for schools and their policies where children and their genders are pretty well known, but I’ll leave that for a separate discussion as I believe that goes far beyond simple bathroom use.

So, what you have here is an unintended consequence. Where prior to pushing for the special recognition you had the ability to do exactly what you wanted as long as you weren’t a moron, and now (assuming the legislation passes and moves through the states) you’ll be actually breaking a law. Is that the outcome they sought? I don’t think so.

I’m sure that the 15 minutes of fame was worth actually impacting people who simply wanted to live their lives. I don’t think they’d agree, but then again it was never your point to help them, was it?

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. – Margaret J. Wheatley

Don’t squander the opportunity…

For the first two years of the Obama presidency, the democratic party had control of the house and the senate, much like the Republicans do today. While in control the only noteworthy accomplishment, regardless of how damaging it turned out to be, was the affordable care act. Beyond that, there wasn’t anything else done. That is, in my opinion, what caused them to lose the house after 2 years, the senate after 4 years, and the presidency after 8.

As time went on there was a lot of hub-bub about obstructionism, when they were actually trying to push unfavorable legislation that the majority of the populace was against, causing their representatives to oppose it. (Yes, I know that was a run-on sentence). The point being that they had tons of opportunity to create legislation that was agreeable to the masses, that benefited the people and the country, and that would have been passed. They failed to do so, and they suffered the consequences.

The bottom line is that pet projects that only help a small subset of the populace are a bad idea. They’re even worse if they infringe on the liberty of others, which many of the things that were being pushed did.

So, now we have a Republican controlled presidency, house, and senate. The President won based on some strong promises that didn’t necessarily toe the party line. The house and senate gained seats. This was all, in my opinion, a mandate that the “status quo” would not be tolerated any longer.

I believe that Trump sees that we need to pass meaningful and unobtrusive laws, and remove laws that are senseless, obtrusive, and go against the liberty of the people. His actions thus far seem to back up his claims.

It would appears as though there are some in the senate who are ingrained in the establish mentality, and wish to maintain the status quo. This will be detrimental to their “party” lead. Unfortunately, they have been re-elected many times (MANY times), so it would seem as though they have no motivation to change their ways.

The house seems to be less of a quagmire, likely due to the more frequent turn over. That’s not to say there aren’t any obstructionists in the house, just that I believe there are fewer and that things can move through the house at a quicker pace.

At this point, America has the opportunity to see a government shed the skin of complacency and act on behalf of the people and the country. It won’t be easy. It won’t be fun. It won’t be painless. What it could be is the foundation for an era of prosperity for America unlike anything we’ve seen before. It will take work and sacrifice, but it would be oh so worth it.

So, I urge our representatives, Republican and Democrat alike, to stand up for America and do what is right and just. Don’t squander this opportunity you have been given, and protect our country and the values of our founding fathers. Uphold the liberty and justice as you pledge to do. Protect the constitution as is your sworn duty. Make the hard decisions. The people, and remember you are one of us, will be rewarded.

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. ― Francis Bacon, The Essays

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…

It would seem that every time you turn on the television lately that all you see is reporting on Russia. There is creative editing and narrative creation. Something similar happened during the previous administration, albeit with a very different outcome in mind.

Fortunately, while this was going on during the prior administration I was forced to look for the truth of what was going on while they were trying to distract me. You understand, while they are focused on a single narrative, many things happen on a daily basis that go unseen my the masses. That is, of course, unless you go looking for the information.

I have to wonder, would all of those who are outraged about the Russian issues change their tune regarding the president if they knew what was actually going on “behind the curtain”? The curtain that is the main stream media. What if they actually knew of how the agenda was being implemented? What if they agreed with some of the things going on? What if they found out about something they really disagreed with? The latter is definitely something that struck me during the previous administration.

I’m sure that for the liberal and progressive out there, there’s plenty to be upset about. Things that actually need to be addressed. Unfortunately very few know about it because the current environment in the media is an echo chamber for them, so they feel no need to look further.

I guess this turned into another anti-mainstream media post, even though it wasn’t the initial intent. They just make it so easy. No, the point was supposed to convince you that you should look at multiple sources, and realize that when tons of focus and effort is put into driving you to follow one thing, you should be concerned about what is going on behind the scenes.

This plays into a previous post about educating yourself. It is your responsibility to search out the information. It’s your responsibility to ask questions. It’s your responsibility to make logical, rational, informed, and educated decisions.

So, I implore you to “pay attention to that man behind the curtain”. Understand what is going on. Get involved. Get engaged.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. -Martin Luther King, Jr.